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AT THE FAIRY'S
THE Fairy Bérylune’s Palace stood at the top of a
very high mountain, on the
way to the moon. It was so near that, on summer nights, when the sky
you could plainly see the moon's mountains and valleys, lakes and seas
terrace of the palace. Here the Fairy studied the stars and read their
for it was long since the Earth had had anything to teach her.
"This old planet no longer
interests me!" she used to say to
her friends, the giants of the mountain. "The men upon it still live
their eyes shut! Poor things, I pity them! I go down among them now and
but it is out of charity, to try and save the little children from the
misfortune that awaits them in the darkness."
This explains why she had
come and knocked at the door of Daddy Tyl's
cottage on Christmas Eve.
And now to return to our
travellers. They had hardly reached the
high-road, when the Fairy remembered that they could not walk like that
the village, which was still lit up because of the feast. But her store
knowledge was so great that all her wishes were fulfilled at once. She
lightly on Tyltyl's head and willed that they should all be carried by
her palace. Then and there, a cloud of fireflies surrounded our
wafted them gently towards the sky. They were at the Fairy's palace
had recovered from their surprise.
"Follow me," she said and led
them through chambers and
passages all in gold and silver.
They stopped in a large room
surrounded with mirrors on every side and
containing an enormous wardrobe with light creeping through its chinks.
Fairy Bérylune took a diamond key from her pocket and opened
the wardrobe. One
cry of amazement burst from every throat. Precious stuffs were seen
piled one on
the top of the other: mantles covered with gems, dresses of every sort
country, pearl coronets, emerald necklaces, ruby bracelets...
Never had the Children beheld such riches! As for the Things, their
rather one of utter bewilderment; and this was only natural, when you
they were seeing the world for the first time and that it showed itself
in such a queer way.
The Fairy helped them make
their choice. Fire, Sugar and the Cat
displayed a certain decision of taste. Fire, who only cared for red, at
chose a splendid Mephistopheles dress, with gold spangles. He put
nothing on his
head, for his bread was always very hot. Sugar could not stand anything
white and pale blue: bright colours jarred on his sweet, nature. The
and white dress which he selected and the pointed hat, like a candle
extinguisher, which he wore on his head made him look perfectly
but he was too silly to notice it and kept spinning before the glass
like a top
and admiring himself in blissful ignorance.
The Cat, who was always a
lady and who was used to her dusky garments,
reflected that black always looks well, in any circumstance,
when they were travelling without luggage. She therefore put on a suit
tights, with jet embroidery, hung a long velvet cloak from her
perched a large cavalier hat, with a long feather, on her neat little
next asked for a pair of soft kid boots, in memory of Puss-in-Boots,
distinguished ancestor, and put a pair of gloves on her fore-paws, to
them from the dust of the roads.
Thus attired, she took a
satisfied glance at the mirror. Then, a little
nervously, with an anxious eye and a quivering pink nose, she hastily
Sugar and Fire to take the air with her. So they all three walked out,
others went on dressing. Let us follow them for a moment, for we have
grown to like our brave little Tyltyl and we shall want to hear
anything that is
likely to help or delay his undertaking.
After passing through several
splendid galleries, hung like balconies in
the sky, our three cronies stopped in the hall; and the Cat at once
the meeting in a hushed voice:
"I have brought you here,"
she said, "in order to discuss
the position in which we are placed. Let us make the most of our last
But she was interrupted by a
"Bow, wow, wow!"
"There now!" cried the Cat.
"There's that idiot of a Dog!
He has scented us out! We can't get a minute's peace. Let us hide
balustrade. He had better not hear what I have to say to you."
"It's too late," said Sugar,
who was standing by the door.
sure enough, Tylô
was coming up, jumping, barking, panting and delighted.
The Cat, when she saw him, turned away in disgust.
"He has put on the livery of
one of the footmen of Cinderella's
It is just the thing
for him: he has the soul of a flunkey!"
Delighted with the importance of his duty, undid the top of his robe, drew his scimitar and cut two slices out of his stomach
She ended these words with a
"Fft! Fft!" and, stroking her
whiskers, took up her stand, with a defiant air, between Sugar and
good Dog did not see her little game. He was wholly wrapped up in the
of being gorgeously arrayed; and he danced round and round. It was
to see his velvet coat whirling like a merry-go-round, with the skirts
every now and then and showing his little stumpy tail, which was all
expressive as it had to express itself very briefly. For I need hardly
that Tylô, like every well-bred bull-dog, had had his tail
and his ears cropped
as a puppy.
Poor fellow, he had long
envied the tails of his brother dogs, which
allowed them to use a much larger and more varied vocabulary. But
deficiencies and the hardships of fortune strengthen our innermost
Tylô's soul, having no outward means of unbosoming itself,
had only gained
through silence; and his look, which was always filled with love, had
To-day his big dark eyes
glistened with delight; he had suddenly changed
into a man! He was all over magnificent clothes; and he was about to
grand errand across the world in company with the gods!
"There!" he said. "There! Aren't we fine!... Just look at this
lace and embroidery!... It's real gold and no mistake!"
He did not see that the
others were laughing at him, for, to tell the
truth, he did look very comical; but, like all simple creatures, he had
of humour. He was so proud of his natural garment of yellow hair that
he had put
on no waistcoat, in order that no one might have a doubt as to where he
from. For the same reason, he had kept his collar, with his address on
it. A big
red velvet coat, heavily braided with gold-lace, reached to his knees;
large pockets on either side would enable him, he thought, always to
carry a few
provisions; for Tylô was very greedy. On his left ear, he
wore a little round
cap with an osprey-feather in it and he kept it on his big square head
of an elastic which cut his fat, loose cheeks in two. His other ear
free. Cropped close to his head in the shape of a little paper
ear was the watchful receiver into which all the sounds of life fell,
pebbles disturbing its rest.
He had also encased his
hind-legs in a pair of patent-leather
riding-boots, with white tops; but his fore-paws he considered of such
nothing would have induced him to put them into gloves. Tylô
had too natural a
character to change his little ways all in a day; and, in spite of his
honours, he allowed himself to do undignified things. He was at the
moment lying on the steps of the hall, scratching the ground and
sniffing at the
wall, when suddenly he gave a start and began to whine and whimper! His
lip shook nervously as though he were going to cry.
"What's the matter with the
idiot now?'' asked the Cat, who was
watching him out of the corner of her eye.
But she at once understood. A
very sweet song came from the distance; and
Tylô could not endure music. The song drew nearer, a girl's
fresh voice filled
the shadows of the lofty arches and Water appeared. Tall, slender and
white as a
pearl, she seemed to glide rather than to walk. Her movements were so
graceful that they were suspected rather than seen. A beautiful silvery
waved and floated around her; and her hair decked with corals flowed
When Fire caught sight of
her, like the rude and spiteful fellow that he
was, he sneered:
"She's not brought
But Water, who was really
quite witty and who knew that she was the
stronger of the two, chaffed him pleasantly and said, with a glance at
"I beg your pardon?.... I
thought you might be speaking of a great
red nose I saw the other day!..."
The others began to laugh and
poke fun at Fire, whose face was always
like a red-hot coal. Fire angrily jumped to the ceiling, keeping his
later. Meanwhile, the Cat went up to Water, very cautiously, and paid
so many compliments on her dress. I need hardly tell you that she did
not mean a
word of it; but she wished to be friendly with everybody, for she
votes, to carry out her plan; and she was anxious at not seeing Bread,
she did not want to speak before the meeting was complete.
"What can he be doing?" she mewed, time after time. "He was
making an endless fuss about choosing his dress," said the Dog. "At
last, he decided in favour of a Turkish robe, with a scimitar and a
The words were not out of his
mouth, when a shapeless and ridiculous
bulk, clad in all the colours of the rainbow, came and blocked the
of the hall. It was the enormous stomach of Bread, who filled the whole
He kept on knocking himself, without knowing why; for he was not very
and, besides, he was not yet used to moving about in human beings'
last, it occurred to him to stoop; and, by squeezing through sideways,
managed to make his way into the hall.
It was certainly not a
triumphal entry, but he was pleased with it all
"Here I am!" he said. "Here I
am! I have put on
Bluebeard's finest dress... What do you think of this?"
The Dog began to frisk around
him: he thought Bread magnificent! That
yellow velvet costume, covered all over with silver crescents, reminded
the delicious horseshoe rolls which he loved; and the huge, gaudy
Bread's head was really very like a fairy bun!
"How nice he looks!" he
cried. "How nice he looks!"
Bread was shyly followed by
Milk. Her simple mind had made her prefer her
cream dress to all the finery which the Fairy suggested to her. She was
model of humility.
Bread was beginning to talk
about the dresses of Tyltyl, Light and Mytyl,
when the Cat cut him short in a masterful voice:
"We shall see them in good
time," she said. "Stop
chattering, listen to me, time presses: our future is at stake.."
They all looked at her with a
bewildered air. They understood that it was
a solemn moment, but the human language was still full of mystery to
wriggled his long fingers as a sign of distress; Bread patted his huge
Water lay on the floor and seemed to suffer from the most profound
Milk only had eyes for Bread, who had been her friend for ages and ages.
The Cat, becoming impatient,
continued her speech: "The Fairy has
just said it, the end of this journey will, at the same time, mark the
our lives. It is our business, therefore, to spin the journey out as
possible and by every means in our power..."
Bread, who was afraid of
being eaten as soon as he was no longer a man,
hastened to express approval; but the Dog, who was standing a little
pretending not to hear, began to growl deep down in his soul. He well
the Cat was driving at; and, when Tylette ended her speech with the
"We must at all costs prolong the journey and prevent Blue Bird from
found, even if it means endangering the lives of the Children," the
Dog, obeying only the promptings of his heart, leapt at the Cat to bite
Sugar, Bread and Fire flung themselves between them:
"Order! Order!" said Bread
pompously. “I’m in the chair at
"Who made you chairman?"
"Who asked you to interfere?"
asked Water, whirling her wet
hair over Fire.
"Excuse me," said Sugar,
shaking all over, in conciliatory
tones. "Excuse me .... This is a serious moment.. Let us talk things
in a friendly way."
"I quite agree with Sugar and
the Cat," said Bread, as though
that ended the matter.
"This is ridiculous!" said
the Dog, barking and showing his
teeth. "There is Man and that's all!... We have to obey him and do as
tells us!... I recognise no one but him!... Hurrah for Man!... Man for
In life or death, all for Man!
is everything ....
But the Cat's shrill voice
rose above all the others. She was full of
grudges against Man and she wanted to make use of the short spell of
which she now enjoyed to avenge her whole race:
"All of us here present," she
cried, "Animals, Things and
Elements, possess a soul which Man does not yet know. That is why we
remnant of independence; but, if he finds the Blue Bird, he will know
will see all and we shall be completely at his mercy.
Remember the time when we
wandered at liberty upon the face of the earth!
..." But, suddenly her face changed, her voice sank to a whisper and
hissed, "Look out! I hear the
Fairy and Light coming. I need hardly tell you that Light has taken
Man and means to stand by him; she is our worst enemy .... Be careful!"
But our friends had had no
practice in trickery and, feeling themselves
in the wrong, took up such ridiculous and uncomfortable attitudes that
Fairy, the moment she appeared upon the threshold, exclaimed:
"What are you doing in that
corner?… You look like a pack of
Quite scared and thinking
that the Fairy had already guessed their wicked
intentions, they fell upon their knees before her. Luckily for them,
hardly gave a thought to what was passing through their little minds.
come to explain the first part of the journey to the Children and to
of the others what to do. Tyltyl and Mytyl stood hand in hand in front
looking a little frightened and a little awkward in their fine clothes.
stared at each other in childish admiration.
The little girl was wearing a yellow silk frock embroidered with pink posies and covered with gold spangles. On her head was a lovely orange velvet cap; and a starched muslin tucker covered her little arms. Tyltyl was dressed in a red jacket and blue knickerbockers, both of velvet; and of course he wore the wonderful little hat on his head.
Sugar also wanted to impress the company and, breaking off two of his fingers, handed them to the astonished Children
The Fairy said to them:
"It is just possible that the
Blue Bird is hiding at your
grandparents' in the Land of Memory; so you will go there first."
"But how shall we see them,
if they are dead?" asked Tyltyl.
Then the good Fairy explained
that they would not be really dead until
their grandchildren ceased to think of them:
"Men do not know this
secret," she added. "But, thanks to
the diamond, you, Tyltyl, will see that the dead whom we remember live
happily as though they were not dead."
"Are you coming with us?"
asked the boy, turning to Light, who
stood in the doorway and lit up all the hall.
"No," said the Fairy. "Light
must not look at the past.
Her energies must be devoted to the future!"
The two Children were
starting on their way, when they discovered that
they were very hungry. The Fairy at once ordered Bread to give them
eat; and that big, fat fellow, delighted with the importance of his
the top of his robe, drew his scimitar and cut two slices out of his
The Children screamed with laughter. Tylô dropped his gloomy
thoughts for a
moment and begged for a bit of bread; and everybody struck up the
chorus. Sugar, who was very full of himself, also wanted to impress the
and, breaking off two of his fingers, handed them to the astonished
As they were all moving
towards the door, the Fairy Bérylune stopped
"Not to-day," she said. "The
children must go alone. It
would be indiscreet to accompany them; they are going to spend the
their late family. Come, be off! Good-bye, dear children, and mind that
back in good time: it is extremely important!"
The two Children took each
other by the hand and, carrying the big cage,
passed out of the hall; and their companions, at a sign from the Fairy,
front of her to return to the palace. Our friend Tylô was the
only one who did
not answer to his name. The moment he heard the Fairy say that the
to go alone, he had made up his mind to go and look after them,
happened; and, while the others were saying good-bye, he hid behind the
But the poor fellow had reckoned without the
all-seeing eyes of the Fairy Bérylune. "Tylô!" she
And the poor Dog, who had so long been used to obey, dared not resist the command and came, with his tail between his legs, to take his place among the others. He howled with despair when he saw his little master and mistress swallowed up in the great gold staircase.